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Cruising the Lower Danube River, incongruities from Bucharest to Budapest on Emerald Waterways’ Emerald Dawn

Despite the familiar credit card labels pasted on shop doors and ATMs, none of my American cards worked in modern Bucharest, Romania. Across the Danube River, in Bulgaria, crumbling factories and houses remain eerily empty more than 25 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Up the river toward Hungary, Serbia’s capital city of […]

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Best cruising experiences require pre-trip plan-From $100 lunch in Italy to advice from a Headhunter in Borneo

Travelers booking a cruise typically spend lots of time deciding on a ship, cabin and itinerary, but often wait until boarding day to consider what they will do in various ports along the voyage. Yet planning ahead for port stops may yield one of the highlights of your cruise. Here are some of my favorite […]

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Best of new big cruise ships: Anthem and Escape

Norwegian, Royal Caribbean take different tacks on eating, drinking, entertainment Tandem racing and free-fall waterslides or floating in a glass tube that feels like sky diving? Craft beers and tasty bites in a warehouse style sing-along keg room or a clubby pub bar? Oodles of outdoor dining choices or drinks mixed and served by robots? […]

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Living a dream-like suite life on a cruise ship

A growing demand for bigger, grander suites Big, fancy, expensive suites, with butlers, are among the fastest growing accoutrements on cruise ships. Their size and number seem to increase with each new ship. The top suites, which can cost $1,000 a day per person, or more, tend to be among the first accommodations sold out […]

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Fathoming the impacts of do-gooder cruises to the Caribbean

New cruise line Fathom will sail weekly from Miami to the Dominican Republic or Cuba Considering the hard labor required to pour concrete over dirt floors in rural Dominican Republic houses or to haul heavy bags for reforesting the hills, I will make other choices if I book an “impact tourism” week on the new […]

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New cruise port, Amber Cove, to open on the north coast of Dominican Republic-Tours planned to an untapped region

In the mountains near the north coast of the Dominican Republic, our canopied tour bus stopped on a shady country road for a visit to a four-room, wood house of a family of five. A fifth room, the kitchen for making beans, chicken and rice, was in a separate building so as not to spread […]

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Crossing the Atlantic, cruising in unaccustomed style on Queen Mary 2

For 12 July nights at sea, on a grand ocean liner crossing the Atlantic between England and New York, we dressed for dinner. That is, we dressed not as formally as the rich folks on TV’s Downton Abbey from the early 20th century, but we were decked out in plenty of formality and pomp for […]

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Foodie cruises: Lines offer more culinary activities on ship and on shore

Excursions to markets where sea chefs shop The outdoor food market of Nice, France, is not far from the cruise ship docks. Still, it’s easier to find and more fun to navigate if you are following a ship’s chef while he searches for produce for your dinner. Earlier this year, our small tour group came […]

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A celebratory Atlantic crossing on Queen Mary 2 ends in New York City

ABOARD QUEEN MARY 2-When the Queen Mary 2 made its way toward the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, beneath which we could see New York’s skyline peeking into the purple sunrise, half the ship’s passengers already were on deck. Passengers began arriving from their cabins by 5 a.m. Clad in bathrobes and other early morning garb, we lined […]

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Bring black tie, party dresses, for crossing the Atlantic on Queen Mary 2

On a July voyage between Liverpool, England, and Canada’s Halifax, Nova Scotia, Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 spent six nights and five days at sea. Nearly a week, without possibilities for going ashore, seems a long time when you are looking over a brochure for a future crossing of the North Atlantic. But once Queen Mary […]

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